After a stellar first half of the season, including an All-Star selection, Jeff Locke has completely fallen apart. The Pittsburgh Pirates can not keep him on the roster in the postseason, as he has been terrible since the All-Star break. Teams don’t need five starting pitchers in the playoffs, so Locke shouldn’t even be considered for the postseason.
In the first half, Locke was amazing. In 109 innings, he had a 2.15 ERA. A ton of his success was based on luck, unfortunately, and his luck has ran out. In the first half, he was allowing 3.88 BB/9 and an opponent average of just .197. His BABIP against was an unsustainable .228, much like his 83.3 strand rate.
In the second half, his walks have gotten out of control and his luck hasn’t been around to help him out of jams. In 56.1 innings, Locke has a terrible 5.59 BB/9 and his opponent average has jumped to .294.
Walks will hurt any pitcher. Two things that a pitcher can control are walks and strikeouts, and Locke isn’t great at either. Hits, like Locke is learning now, can’t be controlled by the pitcher. Locke, more than any pitcher I’ve seen this season, gets hurt by bloop hits and grounders that just get past the infielder. Unfortunately, Locke doesn’t have the ability to get big strikeouts when he needs them, so runs eventually tend to occur.
As much as I hoped Locke’s success would continue from the first half, it didn’t seem likely. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a need for Locke at this point. He provides zero value to the Pirates now. The Pirates need to give his roster spot to someone that can actually contribute something positive to the team.